Budds Creek: Jeff Diehl preview

Diehl Returns to Scene of Greatest Triumph 2006 President's Cup Nationals NFC champion will look to do it again at Maryland International Raceway (SALINAS, CA; June 6, 2008) -- In 2006 Jeff Diehl was still getting his feet wet behind the...

Diehl Returns to Scene of Greatest Triumph
2006 President's Cup Nationals NFC champion will look to do it again at Maryland International Raceway

(SALINAS, CA; June 6, 2008) -- In 2006 Jeff Diehl was still getting his feet wet behind the wheel of a Nitro Funny Car. After driving in limited IHRA events during the 2005 season, Diehl competed in selected events on the 2006 slate. He came to Maryland International Raceway for the '06 President's Cup Nationals in Budds Creek hoping to qualify for the field and earn enough money to be able to compete at the season-ending IHRA World Finals in Rockingham two weeks later.

He left Maryland International Raceway with his first career national event victory.

Diehl, the surfer from Salinas, California, defeated Paul Lee in the final round to capture the 2006 President's Cup Nationals Ironman and put himself into the mix as a major player on the IHRA circuit. He finished seventh in national points standings last season while competing in just six of 11 national events and is in the middle of the championship points chase this year. He currently sits eighth in points standings, but is just 99 points away from front-running Paul Lee.

He returns to where his big push began June 13-15 when he brings his 2005 Monte Carlo back to MIR for the '08 Torco President's Cup Nationals.

"MIR will always be a special place for me and my entire team," Diehl said. "It's hard to believe it's been almost two years since that win in '06. Back then we were a new team with no significant sponsorship just struggling to make it to the next race. We're not new anymore, but we're still without significant sponsorship and doing this because we love it. Coming to MIR is going to remind us why we are out there, week after week, doing everything we can to make it to the next race. I get goosebumps just thinking about that weekend."

This year has been a challenge for Diehl and his team. He has qualified in the top half of the field twice this season (#3 in Milan at the Motor City Nationals and #4 at the season-opener in San Antonio) but has yet to record his first round win of 2008. At the Spring Nationals in Rockingham Diehl finished on the wrong side of the bump spot. However, he has a good deal of confidence heading into Budds Creek.

"This team has been working very hard and we think we have some things figured out," Diehl said. "We've had a good car at all three events this year, but a couple of small mistakes here and there have cost us. We're going to try a few things in Maryland and really concentrate on getting from 'A' to 'B.' If we can get down the track I think we'll be able to go some rounds. We're looking to get into the show, then see what happens. I've always said that if you can be around on Sunday you have a chance because anything can happen when eliminations start."

The Torco President's Cup Nationals will take place June 13-15 at Maryland International Raceway. There will be one evening qualifying session Friday and a pair of qualifying sessions Saturday. Final eliminations will begin Sunday at noon.

-credit: jdr

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